Smelly people in the office [podcast #78]

August 24th, 2016

Smelly people in the smelly workplace — that’s the dilemma and joy of this week’s Improbable Research podcast.

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This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by FYFD fluid dynamicist Nicole Sharp — tells about:riach


The mysterious John Schedler or the shadowy Bruce Petschek perhaps did the sound engineering this week.

The Improbable Research podcast is all about research that makes people LAUGH, then THINK — real research, about anything and everything, from everywhere —research that may be good or bad, important or trivial, valuable or worthless. CBS distributes it, on the CBS web site, and on iTunes and Spotify).

Ig Nobel Prize-winning Bug-splat book author, on the Tonight Show

August 23rd, 2016

In 1997, right after Mark Hostetler won his Ig Nobel Prize, NBC’s The Tonight Show invited him to be on their program. Here’s edited video of that:

The 1997 Ig Nobel Prize for entomology was awarded to Mark Hostetler of the University of Florida, for his scholarly book, “That Gunk on Your Car,” which identifies the insect splats that appear on automobile windows. [The book is published by Ten Speed Press.]


Ragnhild Bjørknes joins The Luxuriant Flowing, Former, or Facial Hair Club for Social Scientists (LFFFHCfSS)

August 23rd, 2016

Ragnhild Bjørknes has joined The Luxuriant Flowing, Former, or Facial Hair Club for Social Scientists (LFFFHCfSS). Ida Marie Bjørknes, who nominated her, says:

She is an associate professor at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen in Norway, and more importantly – she has great hair! I am her sister and I instantly thought that she belongs in this luxurious club when I first heard about it at the Ig Nobel Prize show at the University of Oslo, where I work.

Sadly, I cannot nominate myself since I am not a researcher, and also because of my bleached and broken hair. My sister on the other hand has long, flowing, natural chocolate brown, beautiful hair, as you can see in the picture.

Ragnhild Bjørknes, Ph.D, LFFFHCfSS
Professor, Faculty of Psychology
University of Bergen
Bergen, Norway

Solstrand, Norway 20141104: Samling på Solstrand. Foto: Paul S. Amundsen

Six familiar (to many people) paradoxes

August 23rd, 2016

Six paradoxes, each presented in one minute, animated by philosophers and their friends at The Open University:

(Thanks to investigator Vern Illy for bringing this to our attention.)

One month from today: The 2016 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony

August 22nd, 2016

The 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony happens exactly one month from today.

THE CEREMONY: The ceremony will happen at the usual place. This year’s theme: TIME.
WHERE: Sanders Theatre, Harvard University
WHEN: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2016, 6:00 pm.
Ceremony details: <>

TICKETS: A few tickets are still available. The Harvard Box Office handles all ticket sales. The physical ticket office [now in a temporary location in Farkas Hall, 10 Holyoke Street, Cambridge] is open some (but not all!) days from noon to 6 pm. The web site is open 24 hours, every day.
Box Office web site:, Telephone (+1) 617-496-2222.

WEBCAST: The ceremony will, as usual, be webcast live. (Historical note: The 1995 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was one of the very first events of any kind to be broadcast on the Internet!)